|PHX||0||2||1||0||1 (1 - 2)||4|
|CGY||2||0||1||0||0 (0 - 3)||3|
By Aaron Vickers | NHL.com Correspondent
CALGARY -- The Coyotes will be sorry to see February end.
Ray Whitney scored in regulation and added the shootout winner as the Coyotes rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit to beat the Calgary Flames, 4-3, at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday night.
Whitney’s snap shot past Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff's blocker was the only goal in the shootout as Coyotes goalie Mike Smith turned aside all three Flames shooters to earn the victory.
The Coyotes are 9-0-1 this month with two games remaining.
Phoenix - the NHL's hottest team - has 71 points for the season, the same as Pacific Division-leading San Jose, which has two games in hand. Suddenly, the Coyotes (31-21-9) are five points clear of Dallas, Calgary and Los Angeles, all of which have 66 points, and are just two behind sixth-place Chicago.
That's pretty good for a team that looked to be on the way to an early summer after losing at home to Anaheim on Jan. 31, its first game after the All-Star break.
"We recognize how quickly things can change," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "You talk to us three weeks ago and things were pretty bleak and we were one of the teams on the outside looking in, and now we feel we’ve got a little bit of a roll and we’ve talked about keeping it going and building on it."
The Flames forced overtime when Olli Jokinen tied the score with just 1:46 remaining in regulation. With time ticking down and Radim Vrbata in the penalty box for interference, Jarome Iginla’s cross-slot pass was poked away by Oliver Ekman-Larsson but went directly onto the stick of Jokinen, parked beside Smith. Jokinen’s second poke pushed the puck by the pad of the Coyotes netminder.
Jokinen’s heroics were needed after a bad break in the third period left them trailing 3-2 (see KEY MOMENT below).
The bounces didn’t start the way the Flames would like in the first period, either.
Curtis Glencross, playing in his first game after missing 13 with a knee injury, almost put the Flames on the board 7:30 in. On a scramble in front of Smith, Glencross poked the puck through the crease and off the post before it was cleared out of harm’s way.
The same misfortune struck new Coyotes center Antoine Vermette 20 seconds later. Streaking in off the rush, Vermette struck the outside of the post and the game remained scoreless.
The Flames (28-23-10) were then the beneficiary of a more favorable bounce at 8:35. After Smith left his crease to clear the puck, Alex Tanguay knocked down the attempt and centered the puck to Cammalleri in the high slot. Instead of finding his intended target, the puck hit Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski and redirected into the empty net to make the score 1-0.
|Photo by Getty Images.
That edge was extended to 2-0 on a goal by Matt Stajan with 4:22 remaining in the period. After taking a cross-slot pass from Tanguay, Stajan fired the puck over the right shoulder of Smith for his first goal since Dec. 15.
The Coyotes got even in the second after a pair of fortunate bounces of their own.
In the Phoenix end, Glencross wired a shot that hit Stajan in the back of the legs. The Coyotes picked up the loose puck and headed up ice. Coyotes center Daymond Langkow, coming late, took a pass in the high slot from Whitney and wristed a shot behind Kiprusoff at 1:32 to make the score 2-1.
After Vrbata hit the post redirecting a slap pass off the stick of Michal Rozsival, Doan was able to deflect an Ekman-Larsson point shot into the net with 2:52 remaining in the middle period to tie the score 2-2. The play came about after Blake Comeau blindly threw a backhanded clearing attempt up the middle from the goal line.
In the end, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was satisfied with earning the two points.
"I didn’t think we executed very well in the first period," Tippett said. "They got one goal with a real bad break off a skate and went into an empty net. We got ourselves back in the game. We got a break on our third goal and then I thought they got a break on the penalty call coming back. Fitting it went to a shootout and we’ll take the extra point."
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
|Photo by Getty Images.|
|Alex Tanguay (8) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 CGY
|Matt Stajan (2) ASST: Alex Tanguay (26), Cory Sarich (3)|
2 - 0 CGY
|Daymond Langkow (8) ASST: Ray Whitney (39), Mikkel Boedker (10)|
2 - 1 CGY
|Shane Doan (19) ASST: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (15), Keith Yandle (26)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Ray Whitney (17) ASST: NONE|
3 - 2 PHX
|PPG - Olli Jokinen (19) ASST: Jarome Iginla (25), Michael Cammalleri (16)|
3 - 3 Tie
|1||O. Jokinen||R. Whitney|
|2||A. Tanguay||R. Vrbata|
|Oliver Ekman-Larsson Hooking against Blake Comeau|
|Jay Bouwmeester Hooking against Martin Hanzal|
|Shane Doan Holding against Jarome Iginla|
|Matt Stajan Cross checking against Chris Summers|
|Radim Vrbata Interference against Tom Kostopoulos|
|SA: 24||TOI: 65:00|
|Saves: 21||EV: 18 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .875||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 29||TOI: 65:00|
|Saves: 26||EV: 25 - 28|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 1|
|SV%: .897||SH: 0 - 0|